Healthcare News & Insights

Health IT not ready for Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements, panel says

The federal government is getting ready to develop the Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements for its EHR incentive program. And some groups say a few of the potential requirements won’t be possible for healthcare organizations to meet. 

Some of the preliminary recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services for the Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements include:

  • Implementing 15 clinical decision support intervention requirements, up from five in Stage 2 and one in Stage 1
  • Mandating the use of computerized physician order entry referrals
  • Requiring clinical summaries to be sent to patients within one business day of 50% of eligible visits
  • Mandating that doctors use EHRs to query research systems for clinical trials, and
  • Requiring providers to identity education resources in five non-English languages.

After those recommendations were revealed, the American Medical Association (AMA) sent a letter to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT urging the agency to make some changes to the Meaningful Use program. Many of the proposed requirements are too strict, the AMA said, or can’t be achieved using currently available technology.

And now, the Office of the National Coordinator’s Health IT Standards Committee has announced its own problems with those recommendations.

One of the primary objections from that panel is that, right now, there’s no way to ensure there will be practical ways for providers to meet the requirements.

For example, many of the new requirements will be meant to create more communication and sharing of electronic information between healthcare organizations. However, as the committee notes, there’s currently a lack of standards and interoperability between EHR systems, and that could keep providers from meeting those objectives.

And for objectives such as the computerized physician order entry referrals, the committee noted there isn’t even currently a product available to allow doctors to meet the suggested requirements. While Stage 3 Meaningful Use won’t go into effect until 2016, there’s no guarantee the right technology will be available even by that time.

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